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Now it is time to begin the investigation to determine the types and numbers of insects present.

  • First, identify the insect after euthanizing it in the freezer for several hours. If rapid identification is necessary, the vial containing the insect may be filled with alcohol prior to placing in the freezer for several minutes.
  • Compare the insect to pictures of pest insects shown below. If not shown, check the links to other IPM websites.
  • Most insects in the urban environment are not pests. Therefore it may be challenging for the homeowner to identify insects not listed on these sites. Focus investigative efforts on insects that are present inside or near any sites of potential exterior pest damage.
  • Pest monitors or glue boards may be placed along edges and collected later in order to isolate infestations.
  • Once the pest is identified, determine where the pest is living and obtaining nourishment. This may be specific to each type of pest though all sources of insect nourishment on the interior need to be cleaned or removed from the area until the pests are eradicated.
  • Pests may reside in inaccessible areas such as wall voids, under concrete slabs, in ceilings, and floors. For these inaccessible areas with pests nearby, ascertain where the pests may enter the structure and note any insect trails, frass, odors, or dead insects.

Food Areas

If insects are found in or near stored food, ensure all surrounding containers of food are pest free and sealed to prevent pest access.

  • Any food containing insects should be wrapped up and placed in freezer for several days. This will kill the pests and reduce the chances of reinfestation if frozen long enough prior to placing in outdoor compost.
  • While dry foods may be salvaged coming out of the freezer by straining out the insects, some pests leave behind disagreeable tastes, smells, or irritating hairs.
  • Non-dry foods infested with insects should not be salvaged after freezing as they may be contaminated with disease-causing microorganisms.
  • Block insect access to all food in compost with lid or layer of soil.

Construct a map of the structure including pest locations, entry points, as well as unresolved sources of insect attraction and sustenance in order to begin the treatment phase. 

Pest Identification




Stinging Insects

Stored Food (Pantry) Pests

Occasional/Seasonal Pests

For more information

U of MN Yard & Garden News

U of MN Extension: Insects


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Last modified on May 24, 2013